Tuesday 28 July 2015

5 Must-Dos for Preparing for the Cross Continent MBA Program at Duke University

A version of this post was originally published on the Duke Cross Continent MBA Student Blog from the Fuqua School of Business. 

The wait is finally over and I’m here on campus at Fuqua for Cross Continent MBA (CCMBA) orientation. As excited as I am, I can’t help but reflect back a few weeks to my thoughts as this MBA journey was about to begin.

It was two weeks before the course materials arrived for our reading period, and just one month before orientation and our first residency. I felt like an 18-year-old undergraduate again, getting ready for the first day of college. How challenging is it going to be? What will my classmates be like? Will the food really be as good as everyone makes it out to be?

This time around, however, I’ll have a little over six years of work experience under my belt, continue a full-time job on top of being a student, run a career consultancy on the side, have significant bills and responsibilities including these new student loans on top of my current student loans—did I mention I chose to put myself through this?

Alas, the academics, travel, cultural experiences and Team Fuqua network makes choosing the CCMBA a winning choice for me. As I’ve received a ton of advice from others, I’d like to pass on my 5 must-dos for MBA preparation in Fuqua’s Cross Continent program.

 My classmates during our Fuqua scavenger hunt on the first day of orientation  

Get started early on the preparatory work.

I can’t emphasize this one enough! Our class had to work through 20 to 40 hours of MBA Math.com, turn in an accounting quiz after watching and reading accounting lectures, and fill out tons of paperwork on the Incoming Student Website (ISW).

I applied during Round 2 to increase my chances of a scholarship and then started doing the early assignments for incoming students consistently in April. By the time the middle of June rolled around, I was essentially done with them and didn’t have to deal with stressing to make any deadlines. Plus, you can help out your future CCMBA friends and classmates with advice on how to best navigate the process for which they’ll be truly grateful! (Note: for MBAMath.com, my strategy was to skip the pre-quizzes as it will save you time, especially in the subjects where you’re more proficient, but make sure you ace the post-quizzes!).

Connect with classmates on social media and start networking as soon as possible.

Filling out my student bio on the ISW and joining the CCMBA ’16 LinkedIn and Facebook groups were the first things I did. This allowed a slew of streaming requests and personal messages to and from fellow classmates. I also attended a Fuqua Around the World event.
What were the results of getting connected before class started? I was able to have study sessions with other Boston-based students, commiserate immediately when receiving emails about the amount of things to do, and even collaborate on ventures (I had a LinkedIn exchange encouraging another student to start her own career consultancy and we’ll be giving each other future referrals in the areas of our expertise—the power of Duke!). One student created a WhatsApp group that 50 of us have joined, so it’s a lot of texts, but you’ll get everything useful from soccer results to when new action items go up on the ISW that require your attention.

quote that relates to MBA preparation 


 Cut out the fat.

This is my new mantra in life in general. With limited hours in the day for everything, I’ve decided to only do the things that absolutely must get done or I really want to do. Doctor checkup? Crucial for my health. Read that pile of magazines that I’ve been meaning to get to? Sorry, they get thrown in the trash. I don’t apply this rule to my cooking though, especially as I love bacon.:)


Accept that life is not going to stop for you.

Hanging out with this little guy in Panama was the perfect pre-MBA vacation!

I told my friends and family that my life for the next 1.5 years would be working, studying, and working out. Beyond prepping for CCMBA in the last few weeks, I’ve torn an ankle tendon and started physical therapy, underwent the joys of apartment hunting, and was asked to take on a new position at work. Life’s a ride no matter the choices we make, so hang on tight!


It’s summertime in North America, so hit the beach. Travel, binge on Netflix, spend time with your favorite people, and even reach out to ones that you haven’t seen in a while. They’ll be excited for the next chapter of your life too!

These are things that I’ve realized while jumping into the journey of full-time professional and part-time student. If you have any questions about your own must-dos before starting the admissions process and CCMBA journey, reach out to Admissions. They can help and even put you in touch with current students who can share their unique insights.


  1. Oh! I really can’t believe that you have so many responsibilities yet you chose Executive MBA for yourself. Did the education loan and every other bill that you had to pay worth it? I can totally sense your enthusiasm from the blog about MBA life but just wanted a heads up if as a working professional it would be worth it?

  2. It is worth it depending on your goals - keep in mind that reputation does matter greatly at the MBA level, but payoff with a top MBA can be huge. I loved my experience so much that if you have the opportunity to go full-time, you should do it!

  3. Whether you are a fine arts, commerce, media or science graduate or you meet the basic criteria, you can pursue MBA. But don’t join it for the sake of getting an MBA degree.